Friday, December 11, 2009

Basi-Virk - Testimony on secret informer happens Monday with defence, public, media excluded; will venue change?

Long-awaited testimony about why the identity of a police informer in the BC Rail corruption case must remain secret will happen on Monday December 14 in BC Supreme Court - but the public, media and even defence lawyers will be barred from the hearing.

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TUESDAY UPDATE - Due to illness I was unable to attend Monday afternoon's planned court session - nor an I able to attend Tuesday's hearing either. But you can read reports from my colleagues Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun and Mark Hume of the Globe and Mail, who both attended.

The shorthand version is that in the morning Justice Anne MacKenzie heard from Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino about why information about the secret witness could only be discussed in the absence of defence lawyers, media and the public - and MacKenzie agreed.

The hearing continued in the afternoon in open court, and will again today, to discuss other disclosure issues where the Crown is also asserting "informant privilege" in connection to drug investigations it says are not relevant to the Basi-Virk case.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE - I'm still sick but Mark Hume of the Globe and Mail and Robin Mathews for The Legislature Raids have both reported on the court hearing Tuesday - where allegations that David Basi was laundering drug money through the Liberal Party were strongly denied by his lawyer Michael Bolton.

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Only Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino and his legal team and Justice Anne MacKenzie will be in the courtroom, thanks to a decision Berardino won in the Supreme Court of Canada last month that overturned two lower BC court decisions.

And for the first time it was learned that the defence representing David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi may ask that the venue of the trial be moved from Vancouver to an undisclosed new location, most likely Victoria.

Lawyer Michael Bolton, representing David Basi, also dismissed speculation I have heard the defence might drop its applications to throw the entire case out of court for abuse of process and delay of trial.

"Pure rumour," Bolton told me outside court, while declining further comment.

In fact, in court Berardino and defence lawyers received MacKenzie's approval to being hearing a defence Section 11B application to have the ase dismissed because the Charter of Rights guarantees the accused access to trial without unreasonable delay.

Bolton also declined to discuss the possible change of venue motion, which could make media coverage of the complex trial difficult after nearly six years of pre-trial hearings in Vancouver.

The defendants all live in Victoria, as does Virk's lawyer Kevin McCullough but all other legal counsel are based in Vancouver.

The venue change could be connected to a possible change in the mode of trial from judge only to judge and jury, with jury selection in Vancouver potentially more difficult due to media coverage of the case. However, with Internet access to most reporting, that argument may fall flat if made.

In court Janet Winteringham of the Special Prosecutor team told MacKenzie that as part of the case management discussion around remaining issues on the secret informer question: "We will be discussing the Kevin DeBruyckere April 4, 2007 affidavit."

DeBruyckere is the senior RCMP officer involved in the investigation who also happens to be the brother-in-law of BC Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichert.

The defence has repeatedly raised this issue, with the Crown responding that DeBruyckere disclosed the relationship to his superiors in an appropriate manner.

Reichert, the defence alleges, had conversations with Basi about political dirty tricks, hired Basi through the party for $20,000 to conduct "media monitoring" work and that RCMP wire taps heard Basi and Reichert discussing radio show appearances by Premier Gordon Campbell.

Reichert, the defence alleges, also told Campbell that the RCMP were recommending additional criminal charges against Basi but that the BC Liberal Party had asked the RCMP to not press the charges.

These allegations made in court are, of course, unproven and have not been subject to cross-examination.

Berardino also told MacKenzie that he and the defence have agreed to timing on a defence application that challenges the authorization of search warrants, with submissions to be made in January and a hearing to start February 1.

The pre-trial hearing resumes Monday December 14 at 2 p.m. - the open to the defence, public and media part that is - with arguments on issues related to the secret witness situation.



Anonymous said...

What a story, even when we spoke of this on the morning of 28/December/2003 I would never have guessed it would still be in pre-trial mode and arguing about change of venues.

All that's left is for witnesses to vanish and be found floating headless . . . now in the Gorge Waterway, as opposed to the Fraser River.


Anonymous said...

Not that uncommon to take the case home so to speak, but does that change the presiding judge?

Anonymous said...

"These allegations made in court are, of course, unproven and have not been subject to cross-examination."

Thanks for pointing that out Bill. So far every allegation made by the defence has been unproven. These clowns are racking up one hefty legal bill though.

Bill Tieleman said...

I'm not sure but I believe it would likely require a new judge if the venue change was to Victoria or somewhere equally distant.

BC Mary said...

O.m.g., Bill ...

this change of venue is troubling. I always wondered why they had started the BVB trial in Vancouver ...

then they did the A.L.R. pre-trial stuff in Vancouver too ...

so it's not like they didn't KNOW that the Accused live and worked in Victoria but that most of the legal teams live in Vancouver ...

so what has changed?

Will the public never catch a break in this affair?

Anonymous said...

"....Only Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino and his legal team and Justice Anne MacKenzie will be in the courtroom,......."

Nobody recording anything; no one saying "All Rise" as the Judge enters the room. They could be doing this little get together via a Skype Conference call and save the costs of renting the courtroom.

Anonymous said...

This non-trial is turning into a real Gong show. Both prosecution AND defense seem to want to talk this case into some sort of mistrial.

DPL said...

as usual, a brief,concise review in the latest saga of the gang of three and all the supporting cast. Thanks Bill.
The eventual costs will be huge. Maybe a book or two will surface someday

Anonymous said...

more likely a movie than a book....

Anonymous said...

By moving the Basigate trial over to Victoria the Campbellite Gang will have effectively eliminated the bulk of the free and honest media from providing in-depth coverage of what will likely be a long and complex case.

Media coverage out of Victoria will mostly be in the hands of CanWest/Global's league of Campbell fart-catchers and the one or two Victoria "journalists" who have made a career of NOT COVERING BASIGATE since they were personally too close to the file.

The Liberal motto . . .WE ONLY CHEAT WHEN WE CAN'T WIN, certainly comes to the front again.


North Van's Grumps said...

As to whom is paying the legal bills for Bobby Virk, and possibly David Basi... look no further than ...

Pages 1 and 2 Proposed Indemnity

Pages 12 and 13

"......hope you will find support and comfort from friends and family during this difficult time."

Anonymous said...

This has dragged on for so long that it is seeming to be a bit of a joke.

But at the same time that somehow makes it more frightening.

It is a demonstration of power - that is intimidating.

Some are above the law. And this particular scandal is just one that is being covered by dedicated people like Bill. If not for a few people this scandal would clearly disappear.

Yikes. Thanks Bill for keeping up the good fight.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hey Bill just to let you know the last post at 3:37pm links to what appears to be a Korean? porn/prostitution site.

Click on the ................ series of periods

North Van's Grumps said...

Did you know that the trial judge for Basi/ALR/Victoria has some interesting link to what's happening on the BC Rail case.

"O'Connor" is often cited... by the Defense, by the Crown, and by the Judge:


"R. v. O'Connor, [1995] 4 S.C.R. 411 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision on disclosure of medical records. The Court held that the medical and counselling records of a complainant in a sexual assault case that are held by a third party can be disclosed by order of the judge if they meet two requirements.

First, the applicant must establish, without seeing them, that the records are likely to be relevant to the case. Second, the judge must review the records and decide whether to disclose them based on the balancing the right to make full answer and defence, and the right to privacy.

The O'Connor involved in the case was Hubert Patrick O'Connor, a disgraced Catholic bishop from British Columbia who was charged with sex crimes in 1991."


The O'Connor case came about from Victoria's Supreme Court where Mr. Ernie Quantz was the Assistant deputy attorney-general of British Columbia. Ernie Quantz is now called Judge Quantz, and he's the man in charge of the Basi/ALR trial.

Where the Court here is dealing with Basi/Virk/Basi and how "O'Connor" applies to the case, Judge Quantz knows "O'Connor" backwards and forwards.

Anonymous said...

Yes,thanks BT, and for keeping he faith.
I'm okay with the trial moving to Vic. Less conjeston, away from the games. However, I doubt this will be taking place during such a high tourist,media extravaganza spotlight. Then again, maybe gordo wants to play himself, in his blockbuster, ('not made in china),B movie.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks to Anonymous 4:53 pm for the catch on the insidious spam link. The comment said "Everything comes if a man will only wait" - surely a Basi-Virk statement! - followed by a series of dots - which hid a porno link.

The tricky buggers!

James Lewis said...

The corruption is so widespread the courts, the government, the press, nothing can contain it. The only way to combat it is for the people to have real power.

I suggest:

Create “Citizen Action Teams” in every community – Downtown East Side, West End, Kitsilano, Pitt Meadows, Terrace, BC...

Teams meet to create action plans to advocate for change on local issues – rip offs, local taxes & utility rates, schools, crime, environment, whatever. Teams are not connected to any particular political party, ethnic group, religion, and are not formed to work on one particular cause or issue. Teams are populist. They meet and vote on (using Roberts Rules of Order) what they will advocate for and how they will advocate for it. The team will elect someone to organize meetings and perhaps a sergeant at arms but they do not need to elect a “leader.” They just need to vote on a list of outcomes and the method of accomplishing them.

The “Citizen Action Teams” also elect delegates to represent the team at a convention held every two years. At the convention the delegates create a list of action items. Each action item has a desired outcome – lower food prices, lower gas prices, stopping HST, changing legislation, green initiatives, whatever – and a means of achieving it – lobbying, demonstrating, media campaign, whatever. At the convention, delegates form teams to achieve the outcomes decided on at the convention. The teams then go out and try to achieve the outcomes.

At the convention level, if a more complex level of organization is required, a corporate model could be adopted. A Board will be elected, and the Board will hire a CEO to organize the teams of delegates in their efforts. The CEO will be working for the Board and the Board will be elected by delegates, so the CEO will not be a “leader.” The CEO’s performance will be judged by his/her success in achieving outcomes, nothing more. I expect this system will be corruptible, but an effort must be made not to create another elite, and to keep the thing as populist as possible. Maybe ripping off a corporate structure focused on results will work. Power, in theory, remains with the diverse populist teams.


Anonymous said...

Jeez. The Picton trial didn't take this long. I'm getting the awful feeling that they are all going to get away with this.

Anonymous said...

This story is still not on the CBC after 3 days on the Globe and Mail website.

Not newsworthy to Harper's new news acquisition I guess.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the reason that the defense team wants to move to Victoria is because Justice Anne MacKenzie is such a different kind of person from that of Justice Elizabeth Bennett.

It sounds like MacKenzie wants to squash the pretrial process in its tracks for fear of it going on for another seven years whereas Bennett saw the light at the end of the tunnel,finally, after seven years.

Moving to Victoria, via jury, would almost guarantee that the trial would start...... and a lawsuit afterwards because of the long delay in coming to trial. $$$$$$

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 6:54

Maybe you should take your clown suit of lol! You have obviously been on another planet when all the dirty tricks with accompanying emails were read into the court record. I suppose even this informant issue and the fact it went to the SCC in Ottawa is some sort of defence delay tactic.

Then again I suppose all those emails about blabby deputy ministers were defence shenanigans as well.

Get your spin lines ready from PAB, your going to need them when the train leaves the station lol!!